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CBP announces end to family separations based on border prosecutions

  1. Date Announced

    June 21, 2018

    CBP states that it has begun taking steps to implement EO 13841: Affording Congress the Opportunity To Address Family Separation, by suspending widespread use of family separation. [ID #333]

    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    June 21, 2018
  3. Subsequent Action

    October 12, 2018

    The Washington Post reports the Administration is considering a new policy of family separation, granting families a choice between detention of the whole family unit or separation whereby children are released while parents are kept in detention.

    Trump administration weighs new family-separation effort at border
  4. Biden Administration Action

    May 28, 2021

    Reported: This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    The Hill reports that on May 28, 2021, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller issued a memo to the heads of Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations formally banning the separation of children from their parents or guardians due to illegal entry convictions and prohibiting their referral for prosecution solely on the grounds of illegal entry. The memo added a national security exception, allowing parents to be referred for prosecution for illegal entry "with the approval of higher ranking officials and local counsel," according to The Hill. Miller's new guidance is meant to clarify the 2018 court order mandating reunification of separated families in Ms. L. v. ICE (S.D. Cal. 3:18-cv-00428).

    2021.05.28 Reported from The Hill: "DHS formally bans family separations for illicit border crossings"
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Border
Agencies Affected: CBP ICE EOIR ORR DOD

Prior Policies

  • Under Attorney General Sessions' "zero tolerance" policy of detaining and prosecuting all undocumented individuals, the AG directed United States Attorneys on the Southwest Border to prosecute all amenable adults who illegally enter the country, including those accompanied by their children, for illegal entry. Children whose parents were referred for prosecution were placed with the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

    DHS Fact Sheet: Zero Tolerance Immigration Prosecutions - Families

Subsequent Action

Biden Administration Action

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